Pile footings inspected …

Every weekend the Globe Rowing Club rowers have to open the heavy steel floodgates to give them access onto the foreshore.  Today’s Baltic wintry blast with its intermixed snow shower stirred me from my slumbers to go down to join them to inspect the pile footings that support our small wooden deck.  Further upstream, as recently reported, the authorities have had to add a large area of defensive sacking to counter the scarring of the sandy foreshore from the effects of the wash from the fast ferries as they speed up to town!


Once breakfasted, we enjoyed the snug warmth of our little Toyota as we zoomed down to Bluewater to search John Lewis for brighter lighting so that I can enjoy the pleasure of writing this scrawl.  Whilst down in those parts we drove down a mile or so to view the wintry tideway at Greenhithe’s little hamlet, snugly sited for centuries as an active riverside port where Everards coasters were once based.  The narrow, characterful High Street still remains in spite of being surrounded by brand new housing estates, squeezed in between the miles and miles of industrial warehouses which crowd both sides of the Dartford Crossing, jam packed with M25 traffic.


The roof tops of Greenhithe’s little settlement used to be covered with snow-like cement dust from the deep chalk workings where sparkling new Bluewater’s shopping centre buzzes with activity and modish gear for one and all – a blissful retreat from the Dickensian gloom of the tidal Thames so close by.

The curious might like to take a pint at the historic Pier pub where once seafarers used the existing wooden slipway to come ashore.  For years, merchant navy cadets were educated on board an ancient naval hulk, the TS Worcester, and also had to use their rowing skills to get ashore.  The other waterside pub, recently renamed the John Franklin, recalls HMS Erebus’ loss in the search for the North West Passage.  The locals gleefully recalled the morbid cannibal accusation.  I sulked out into the gloom in respect!





Here in Greenwich ‘Death in the Ice’ is the dramatic title for a new exhibition at the NMM opening here mid-summer.  This will, no doubt, receive much hype in the national press as this joint Canadian Museum of History with the NMM exhibition opens on 14th July – the story of Franklin’s final expedition in 1845.  The press release explains more, including Nunavut input.


Ships that pass in the night

Deep in my slumbers, the sound of ship engines awoke me and, raised with curiosity, I could only just make out the silhouette of a man of war escorted by a pair of tugs.  Upon return from her visit to the Pool, her tall mast and electronic gear made me realise that this German naval vessel was a communications spy ship!!  Pre-Brexit visit to the Square Mile or high tech business in Canary Wharf I ask myself!!


riverwatch-fgs-oker-peter-kent-1Thank you Rob Powell for this photograph of Peter doing what he loves to do, and that is watching the river traffic!

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

3 responses to “Pile footings inspected …”

  1. simonceliawedding says :

    Thanks, Peter, I really relish your Riverwatch and love the drawings. The Franklin exhibit sounds most interesting. I much enjoyed the Emma Hamilton one. Best regards and to Judy,

  2. Elizabeth Pearcey says :

    We do hope that the National Maritime Museum exhibition will include information about the steam engines fitted on HMSS Erebus and Terror. They were taken from two of the first four locomotives on the London & Greenwich Railway line (the first passenger carrying line in London).

  3. dpreeyore says :

    In the days when the ILEA (Inner London Education Authority) ran free courses for their teachers, in 1974 I attended a large RYA Elementary Sailing Certificate course that was based on the old T.S. Worcester, then in use as the Merchant Navy Training College. It was an extremely testing tidal environment for sailing newbies, supported initially by an equally large group of Instructors, some of whom were cadets who were training there. At that time the T.S. Worcester was in the process of being replaced by a modern, shore-based establishment. On its completion, the Worcester was apparently purchased by an American businessman and towed across the Atlantic. Despite its age, the ‘new’ Merchant Navy College only lasted just over 25 years before being demolished in favour of the housing developments that grew up around the refurbished Ingress Abbey.

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